Author's Notes: This is my first "Bones" fic, so I hope I do the characters justice. Thanks to my extra-special beta, PhDelicious. And to everyone who's reading this, thanks for clicking and enjoy!
The Woman Who Never Came Back
by Kristen Elizabeth
"New case for you, Seth."
"Great!" The Jeffersonian's facial reconstruction artist might have been the youngest member of the team at 24, but his talent was unquestioned, and his enthusiasm was infectious. "I made the changes to Lake Man based on the new information. He's on your desk."
As they walked up the short flight of steps to the layout area, Dr. Zack Addy nodded his approval. "I saw. Great work. Look for the picture in tomorrow's news." He smiled. "I know you keep a scrapbook."
Seth's cheeks turned pink. "Yeah, but I call it my portfolio."
Zack ran his hand over the sensor pad, activating the chip in his wrist. The glass doors slid open silently. "Have I told you recently how much I love the fact that you still work with clay and pencils and paints?"
"It's been a few days, sir. But thanks."
The lone examination table in the layout room contained a single skeleton. "Case number 67239-B," Zack said. "Construction workers found this one while they were digging the foundation for the new Capital building." He pointed to the pelvic bones. "Female, obviously. Caucasian. Anywhere from 30 to 40 years old. Probably around 5'8", maybe 5'9". Hair, eyes, body type…well, I won't do your job for you."
Seth circled the table, eyeing the bones from all angles. "Any idea how long she's been dead?"
"Still working on that. Definitely more than ten years." Zack gingerly lifted the skull. "No doubt about the cause of death though." He put his finger through the hole in the back.
"Execution style," the artist supplied. "Not my area, but interesting to note."
After setting the skull back down, the older man started for the door. "I'll leave you to it."
With his boss gone, Seth considered the skeleton for another long minute. "Don't worry, honey," he said with a smile. "I'll give you your face back."
Two hours later, Seth had all the tissues depth markers in place around the skull. After another hour, and about a pound of clay, the head was beginning to take shape.
"Strong jaw," he mused as he smoothed clay over bone. "I like that in a woman."
Having finished with the science, he was ready to focus on the art. This was his specialty, and why he preferred old-fashioned methods of forensic artistry. He let his hands feel the face, and more often than not, his reconstructions ended up being far more accurate than anything the computers spit out, even more so than the advanced programs that the Jeffersonian employed.
There really wasn't any way to tell what color the woman's hair had been, so he decided to go with the majority of the population and make her a brunette. He tended to use hazel as a standard eye color, because it photographed better. The others might call his collection of wigs and glass eyes freaky, but they were always effective.
Several hours later, with the hair and eyes in place, Seth was ready to showcase the rough draft of his latest masterpiece.
The rest of the team gathered for the unveiling; it was a little tradition. No one could remember how it had started. But they all liked to see Seth's work for the first time together, as a group. Somehow it made a stronger impact; they would go back to their individual work with a greater sense of purpose, having seen the face of the job.
Seth looked around the little group. Dr. Addy, their leader and senior anthropologist. Maria O'Malley, their liaison to the National Department of Inquiry. Dr. Taylor Gartrell, materials, chemicals and DNA. Dr. Amy Nash, entomology. Dr. John Townsend, archeology. The best of the best. This was the team who had identified Jimmy Hoffa's remains. It was an honor to work with them in any capacity.
"Everyone, I'd like to you meet Miss Jane Doe 67239-B." He pulled off the cloth, revealing the face he'd worked so hard to bring to life.
"Nice," John observed with a slick grin. "Sweet senorita."
Amy threw him a withering look. "Please don't mack on the dead."
"Who says 'mack on'? The turn of the millennium called and they want their phrase back."
"I'll give it back, if you'll return that comeback with it," she snapped.
Maria shook her head at the ceiling. "I am so sorry that I suggested you two have sex to work out your tension."
"Hey." Ever the straight man of the group, Taylor directed them all back to the task at hand. He looked at their leader, and frowned when he saw that all the color had drained from the older man's face. "Dr. Addy? What's wrong?"
"This is a mistake."
Seth frowned. "Sir?"
His boss shook his graying head. "You've made a mistake. A big mistake. How…" He stopped; his eyes moved back and forth as if he was trying to process something. "You must have seen pictures."
"Pictures?" Amy wondered out loud.
They all exchanged looks. Dr. Addy was brilliant, but he wasn't without his idiosyncrasies. He had moments of extreme melancholy and times when his genius mind had to shut down for a few seconds before he could rejoin the world. They were all used it. But this was different.
"I just followed the skull," Seth said, trying very hard not to be hurt the horrified look on his mentor's face. "It's still a little rough, but this is Jane Doe." His shoulders lifted a bit. "I can just feel it."
Dr. Addy closed his eyes.
"Zack?" Maria put her hand on his arm. "What's going on?" She paused. "Do you recognize the face?"
He opened them again, releasing a few pent-up tears. Taking in a shaky breath, he nodded. "Yes. Jane Doe…is Dr. Temperance Brennan."
To Be Continued